The fair trade organisation Sana Hastakala was established in 1989 with support of UNICEF to promote and sell Nepalese handicrafts. Within two years it became self-sufficient and has grown steadily since then. Today, Sana Hastakala is a successful non-governmental organisation (NGO) and a non-profit organisation based in Laltipur, Nepal.
Sana Hastakala is particularly committed to the revival of traditional handicrafts and the implementation of modern techniques. The aim of supporting Nepalese handicraft producers is already in Sana Hastakala’s name as it means “small handicraft” in Nepali.
All products that are exported by Sana Hastakala are either handmade in their own workshop or sourced from small-scale and home-based artisans and craft producer groups across Nepal. In addition to its own staff and production unit, Sana Hastakala now markets the products of 60 producers, projects and organisations with more than 1,200 individual artisans.
According to Sana Hastakala, its main objective is to meet the marketing requirements of Nepal’s handicraft producers, who are mainly women operating at a very small scale and often from home. Additional objectives are: to preserve Nepal's rich artistic skills and craft techniques; to promote the export of Nepalese handicrafts; to motivate and support artisans; to sponsor professional training workshops where applicable; to promote handicrafts from different parts of the country, particularly from areas with lower levels of economic growth; to identify traditional handicrafts from all regions of Nepal and promote their high quality products and to provide appropriate financial and technical support to handicraft producers.
Sana Hastakala is also involved in the fair trade community. The organisation is a founding member of FairTrade Group Nepal (FTG). Furthermore, it is a ‘Guaranteed Member’ of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and aligns its work with the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. These include, among other principles, ensuring good working conditions, commitment to transparency, fair trading practices, fair payment, freedom of association, non-discrimination and gender equity, as well as respect for the environment. More information here.
One of Sana Hastakala's partners is the handicraft business Thimi Ceramics which is located in the ancient city of Bhaktapur. Founded by brothers Laxmi and Santa Kumar Prajapti, Thimi Ceramics continues the rich heritage of handmade Nepalese ceramics with a team of 20 potters. Since the 1980s Thimi Ceramics has been making earthenware, and in 2004 the company pioneered Nepalese stoneware. While remaining true to their traditional craftsmanship, the designs of their ceramics reflect modern influences – just like the incense holders you find in our shop.
Another partner that we want to introduce to you here is the Kathmandu-based handicraft workshop Shree Mahila Utthan Pashmina Udhyog (SMUPU). Founder Dhundi Bhattachan has been working with Sana Hastakala for more than 25 years and is also a board member and vice-chairman of the fair trade organisation. The 21 artisans currently working for Shree Mahila Utthan Pashmina Udhyog, including 11 women and 10 men, handcraft high-quality wool products. For the past 25 years the workshop has made a name for itself, especially for its handmade products made of pashmina (cashmere) and convinces with unusual soft pashmina products of the highest quality. Other materials they work with are yak and cotton - a mixture of these two materials is used, for example, to create the beautiful scarves and blankets that you can see in our shop.
The photos show some of the artisans of SMUPU.
As of October 2021